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EUTELSAT 8 West B satellite blasts into orbit

Over 52 million TV homes in Middle East and North Africa set to get more choice .

Homes across the Middle East are set for even greater television choice following the successful launch of the EUTELSAT 8 West B satellite Eutelsat from its launch site in Kourou, French Guyana.

Eutelsat Communications confirmed that the satellite was successfully launched into orbit by an Ariane 5 rocket on August 20 at 20.34 UTC (17.34 in Kourou).

Partial deployment of the solar panels of the 5.8 tonne satellite was completed within four hours of separation.

This manoeuvre will be followed in the coming five days by three firings of the satellite’s apogee motor to complete the climb into geostationary orbit, as well as full deployment of the solar panels and the antennas.

After a full series of performance tests EUTELSAT 8 West B will be located 7/8° West where it will further strengthen this position as the hotspot for television broadcasts to homes across the region stretching from Morocco to the Gulf.

It is expected to go into full commercial service in early October providing capacity equivalent to an additional 180 High Definition television channels.

Speaking from Kourou, Michel Azibert, Deputy CEO and Chief Commercial & Development Officer of Eutelsat, said: “The launch of the EUTELSAT 8 West B satellite marks a new milestone in the growth story of the leading video neighbourhood in the Middle East and North Africa that Eutelsat has steadily built in a spirit of collaboration with Nilesat. It equips us in particular to meet demand from broadcasters and service providers to deliver more digital and High Definition content to over 250 million viewers in a vast region stretching from Morocco to the Gulf.

“This new satellite also underscores the strength and longevity of our relationship with leading European space companies: EUTELSAT 8 West B is the 30th satellite launched for Eutelsat by Arianespace and the 25th built for our company by Thales Alenia Space. Over more than 30 years of collaboration we have together raised the bar of performance in space and continue to set new standards.”